Animated ‘Super Mario’ Is the Top Game-Based Film Opener

Nintendo’s Mario the plumber is officially a movie star, becoming the top-opening video game adaptation worldwide this past weekend. “Super Mario Bros.” original game designer Shigeru Miyamoto says he plans to keep his celebrity duo — Mario and brother Luigi — away from the small screen, meaning mobile. The legendary video game creator can afford to be picky about his A-lister’s venues. “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” animated feature easily topped the long Easter weekend box office charts by earning $204.6 million domestic and $377 million worldwide.

Globally, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” scored the biggest opening so far in 2023. It eclipsed Blizzard’s “Warcraft” and its $210 million weekend haul in 2016 to become the no. 1 video game opener on the planet. With $106.1 million U.S. “Mario Bros.” also overtook the 2022 U.S. debut of Sega’s “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” ($72.1 million) as the top game-based debut. These and other noteworthy notches are listed indepth in Variety.

The results “surpassed the starts of recent installments in Universal’s biggest franchises,” suggesting we should “expect a sequel to be announced” soon, Variety writes, noting the film, “which cost Universal, Illumination and Nintendo roughly $100 million to bring to the big screen, thrived as the de facto choice among family crowds, who have been starved of compelling theatrical offerings since last December’s release, ‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,’” also released by Universal.

The animated success of “Mario” — producer Illumination’s top opener of all time — passed 2013’s worldwide weekend haul of $208 million for “Despicable Me 2.”

In terms of next steps, Miyamoto told Variety “mobile apps will not be the primary path of future Mario games.” The franchise’s 70-year-old Japanese creator explains he wants fans to experience the high-jumping power pair as originally intended.

“The intuitiveness of the control is a part of the gaming experience,” said Miyamoto, explaining that “when we explored the opportunity of making Mario games for the mobile phone — which is a more common, generic device — it was challenging to determine what that game should be.”

Revenue is likely a factor. Variety reports that 2019’s “Mario Kart Tour” for Android and iOS “has generated $300 million,” versus “$3 billion and counting” for “Mario Kart 8.” Designed for the Nintendo Wii U console, “Mario Kart 8” later became the best-selling title on the Nintendo Switch, a tablet-type device described as a “hybrid console.”

Mario, Luigi and friends have “had a healthy presence” in the wilds of mobile on Switch, and TechRadar says “it seems like that’s not going to change.”

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